El Salvador considers world-first mining ban
Around 90% of surface water in the country is already contaminated, largely due to agricultural runoff and lack of sewage treatment.
El Salvador is the most densely populated country in Central America and a fifth of its rural population lacks access to safe drinking water, according to the World Bank.
In July 2012 government tests on the San Sebastián river – where the US-based Commerce Group ran a gold-mining operation until 1999 – showed nine times the accepted levels of cyanide and 1,000 times the accepted levels of iron.
There are currently no active metal-mining operations in El Salvador, five years after then-president Antonio Saca, following strong public pressure, said he would not issue new permits.
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